Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry make moving speeches during the VAX LIVE concert

By Heather Cichowski and Zach Harper

Duchess Meghan gave a passionate speech about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected women during the Global Citizen VAX LIVE concert on May 8.

The Duchess of Sussex appeared via video to speak about how the pandemic must support "everyone – and particularly women, who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic."

"This past year has been defined by communities coming together, tirelessly and heroically, to tackle COVID-19. We've gathered tonight because the road ahead is getting brighter, but it's going to take every one of us to find our way forward," she said, thanking first responders and essential workers who have been heroic during the pandemic.

She pointed out that staying home has put some women in danger as they experience domestic violence, and also said women have been highly affected by job loss during the last 14 months.

You can watch Meghan's full remarks below:

"With the surge in gender-based violence, the increased responsibility of unpaid care work, and new obstacles that have reversed so much progress for women in the workplace, we're at an inflection point for gender equity," the Duchess of Sussex, who has been active in work on rights for women and girls throughout her life, continued.

"Women – especially women of colour – have seen a generation of economic gain wiped out. Since the pandemic began, nearly five-and-a-half million women have lost work in the U.S., and 47 million more women around the world are expected to slip into extreme poverty."

But Meghan said working together to ensure vaccines are "fairly priced" and available to everyone, we can rebuild better and create better opportunities for women and girls worldwide.

Meghan and Harry are expecting their second child, a girl, later this year, and the duchess made a sweet reference to her in her remarks, saying she wants to work to make the world a better place for her, too.

"My husband and I are thrilled to soon be welcoming a daughter. It's a feeling of joy we share with millions of other families around the world," she said.

"When we think of her, we think of all the young women and girls around the world who must be given the ability—and support—to lead us forward. Their future leadership depends on the decisions we make and the actions we take now to set them up, and set all of us up, for a successful, equitable, and compassionate tomorrow.

"Tonight, we've had a reminder of the things we miss the most. Be it live music or sporting events, or just physical contact with family and friends where we can sit together, laugh together, and hug one another – it all circles back to the same thing: connecting as a community.

"For most of us, that means our local community, our loved ones, our neighbourhood – but let’s also think about our global community. Across the world, we've struggled together. Now, we deserve to heal together."

Meghan's remarks followed Harry's emotional speech urging governments, philanthropists and organizations to help make COVID-19 vaccines accessible to everyone worldwide. The Duke of Sussex's remarks came early in the show. He said the pandemic "cannot end unless we act collectively" to make vaccines available to all.

"We cannot rest or truly recover until there is fair distribution to every corner of the world," he added.

The duke also addressed conspiracy theories floating around online about COVID-19 vaccines, saying misinformation itself is also a "global humanitarian crisis."

"In today's world, we are so connected like a vast nervous system, whether we are online or not," he said later in the broadcast. "And much like the virus, there are no borders online. So when vaccine misinformation and disinformation spreads, magnified on social media and in parts of traditional media, it exposes a collective threat to humanity."

He said misinformation and vaccine equity go hand-in-hand and must be tackled together.

"And if vaccine distribution moved half as quickly as misinformation, just imagine how many lives could be saved."

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were the co-chairs of the VAX LIVE campaign, and joined host Selena Gomez and a bunch of performers for the broadcast, which was filmed May 2 at Los Angeles' SoFi Stadium.

Harry and Meghan appeared alongside entertainment superstars and politicians during the show. Photos: © Getty Images

It featured performances from the likes of Jennifer Lopez, H.E.R., Foo Fighters, J Balvin and many more, and special appearances from U.S. President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Pope Francis, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and more.

RELATED: The best photos from the star-studded VAX LIVE concert

On May 6, Meghan and Harry urged their fans to donate to the Global Citizen COVID-19 vaccine initiative, which will benefit GAVI, The Global Vaccine Alliance. It's a partnership comprised of the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, vaccine makers, researchers, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other philanthropists. The Sussexes said a donation of US$5 will be matched by three organizations to automatically become US$20 and enable multiple people to be vaccinated.

Shortly after the concert streamed, Global Citizen took to social media to reveal that The Concert to Reunite the World mobilized more than US$302 million in funding and secured 26 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to ensure everyone, everywhere is protected from the coronavirus. This includes funds pledged from Canada and Croatia and vaccines pledged from New Zealand, Norway and Spain, to name a few. The full report can be seen here.

Thank you for Meghan and Harry for co-chairing this important event and for the work they've been doing on this vital issue to help our world recover from COVID-19.

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